For many years now a question has lingered in the North American composites industry: Why are there two major trade shows serving the industry, instead of one? Indeed, the industry in the U.S. has been divided when it comes to exhibitions: On one side has been the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE), representing high-performance and advanced materials for aerospace; on the other side has been the American Composites
Manufacturers Assn. (ACMA), representing composites used in everything from marine to wind to construction to automotive. Trade shows hosted by SAMPE and ACMA have been staples of the American composites community for many years, and never the twain shall me.
Until now. Actually, until next year.
The composites events calendar has only gotten more crowded the last few years, and the number of conferences and exhibitions demands much of attendees and exhibitors alike in terms of time, money and energy. So, SAMPE and ACMA, seeing the writing on the wall, started talking last year about the possibility of joining forces and hosting one large U.S. conference and trade show that would give attendees and exhibitors the biggest bang for the buck. With an agreement in principle, all that was needed was a date and a location.
The announcement regarding both came yesterday: Oct. 14-16, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. Post-2014 dates and locations to come.
It will be interesting to see how these two segments of the industry cooperate, but there's no reason why a joint ACMA/SAMPE conference and exhibition won't be a success. First, every other composites trade show around the world works well in similar unificaiton. Second, the composites industry is increasingly blurring the lines between "industrial" and "high-performance" applications. Resins, fibers and processes cross this invisible dividing line with greater frequency, thus it only makes sense that composites professionals enjoy one event that unifies all of the industry's players.